“Cockroach” – Documentary on Hong Kong protests

Writes Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian about Ai Weiwei’s latest documentary: Cockroach is about the passionate pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, which was triggered by the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill by the pro-Chinese Hong Kong government in 2019, exposing protesters to extradition to the Chinese mainland and effectively destroying that minimum of 50 years’ judicial … Continue reading “Cockroach” – Documentary on Hong Kong protests

Three from China on “BBC 100 Women 2020”

They are Agnes Chow (周庭), Hong Kong democracy activist (soon to be jailed); Fang Fang (方方), author of the controversial Wuhan Diary (方方日记); and Uyghur writer Muyesser Abdul'ehed (مۇيەسسەر ئابدۇلئەھەد خەندان, pen name Hendan Hiyal), who penned Kheyr-khosh, quyash (خەير-خوش، قۇياش, Farewell to the Sun), the first novel to describe Uyghur internment camps.

China’s First 20th-century Epidemic: Brief Excerpts from Reportage and Fiction

For those of you who would like to learn a bit about China’s pre-21st century experience in dealing with epidemics, I’ve woven together three topical items, all of which center around an epidemic that took place in early 1900s China. They include news about the upcoming launch of a French translation of a “plague” novel — 《白雪乌鸦》by … Continue reading China’s First 20th-century Epidemic: Brief Excerpts from Reportage and Fiction

Baidu Baike: Bizarre Wikipediaesque Site with Beijing’s Big Brother Seal of Approval

In Fake Food, Fake News: On China’s For-Profit Version of Wikipedia, Chenxin Jiang introduces us to the wacky world of Baidu Baike (百度百科), Baidu search engine's politically correct, Chinese-language version of Wikipedia for the masses: But in many cases the misinformation on Baidu Baike cannot be attributed to commercial interests; much of it is bizarre or … Continue reading Baidu Baike: Bizarre Wikipediaesque Site with Beijing’s Big Brother Seal of Approval

September 2016: Altaic Storytelling Newsbriefs

Can Dündar, former editor-in-chief of Turkey’s Cumhuriyet newspaper, was arrested in late 2015 for publicizing the discovery of a covert arms shipment by the Turkish secret service to radical Islamist organisations fighting government forces in Syria. He was charged with espionage, aiding a terrorist organization, trying to topple the government and revealing state secrets. The newly … Continue reading September 2016: Altaic Storytelling Newsbriefs

July-August 2016: Altaic Storytelling Newsbriefs

Coup d’état Fiction: A Curiously Turkish Genre offers suggested reading for books that capture the Zeitgeist during the years that followed modern Turkey’s not infrequent periods of dictatorship. The winners of the Junma Literary Awards for Ethnic Minority Writers (骏马奖) — handed out every three years since 1981 — were announced in early August. The competition … Continue reading July-August 2016: Altaic Storytelling Newsbriefs

Elif Şafak on Writing in Today’s Turkey

[Hürriyet Daily News] Would it have been difficult for you to write this book if you were living permanently in Turkey? [Elif Şafak] Words are heavy in Turkey. Every journalist, every writer, every poet, every academic knows this. Because of words we can be sued overnight, put on trial, demonized in newspapers, attacked on social … Continue reading Elif Şafak on Writing in Today’s Turkey

April 2016: Altaic Storytelling Newsbriefs

As of May 1, 2016, the controversial, so-called Biànmín Liánxì Kǎ (便民联系卡) will cease to be in use in Xinjiang, according to the authorities (不再使用).  The card (pictured here), which lists contact info for the card-holder's hometown authorities, was supposedly intended to facilitate a variety of services when the Xinjiang resident was away from his or … Continue reading April 2016: Altaic Storytelling Newsbriefs

Reclaiming the Evenki Narrative: Last Shaman’s Daughter Tells her People’s 20th-century Tale

There are only 30,000 or so Evenki (鄂温克族) on the Chinese side of the Sino-Russian border. But this Tungusic-speaking, reindeer-herding people — particularly the group known as the Aoluguya Evenki — has been the subject of several award-winning documentaries and even a novel that won the Mao Dun Literature Prize in 2008. According to an … Continue reading Reclaiming the Evenki Narrative: Last Shaman’s Daughter Tells her People’s 20th-century Tale